Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wikiwander.

I noticed this morning that on this date in 1934, there had been one of the huge dust storms that characterized the Dust Bowl. While reading that article, I got distracted by a link to the Llano Estacado region of West Texas, an area of wall-to-wall f^%k-all. Except for Palo Duro Canyon, from which Col. Ranald Mackenzie evicted the Kiowa and Comanche in an eponymous battle in the 1870s. Col. Mackenzie had been a general during the War of Northern Agression, including being wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek, where he had commanded a unit under General Phil Sheridan.

Sheridan, of course, had a distinguished career, and the air-droppable M551 tank was named after him. The tank was deployed for both Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Storm, but saw the most service in Vietnam, where it was used by the 11th ACR, the Black Horse, during the invasion of Cambodia. The 11th is now best known as the OPFOR at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, near Barstow in California. Barstow probably wouldn't be a blip on anyone's consciousness if it weren't for the fact that Route 66 passes through. Route 66 was part of the National Highway system, and in the 1930s, it was crowded with westbound Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl.

9 comments:

phlegmfatale said...

Awesome post - it was like an episode of Connections. By the way, there were a lot of Arkansans who headed west for work during the Depression. There was a saying that if you saw a car heading for California with a mattress on top, they were Okies, but if there were also bare feet sticking out a window, they were Arkies.

TBeck said...

If you ever find yourself in the Texas panhandle, Palo Duro canyon is worth a few hours of your time. It's amazing, truly.

Earl said...

Nicely knit and worthy.

Matt G said...

You just described how I can kill 4 hours, and wonder how the sun got from there to there.

Frickin' Wikipedia. I wish they'd charge.

Anonymous said...

1934? Hey, me, me, me, meeeeee! I wuz borned that year!

Dust? Yeah, my mom grumped at length about how much hassle it was to do laundry in those days. Think "diapers"...

Art

Ben said...

The Sheridan's the tank that had a rocket launcher tube instead of a traditional cannon, right?

Anonymous said...

And if they were rich Okies they had two mattresses on top of the car...

Word verification: gkntau. The sound the model A engine makes as it freezes up...

DeDog

mostly cajun said...

The M551 Sheridan was technically NOT a tank. It was, by military nomenclature, and Armored Reconnaissance and Airborne Assault Vehicle. When I was a young tank commander, we did train on them.

The armor was not anywhere near that found on its contemporary REAL tanks like the M48 and M60 series.

The main gun is a combination 152mm missile launcher for the Shillelagh missile and for 152 projectiles that had no metallic cartridge case.

MC
former tank commander

It also had the capability to "swim" in deep water.

Anonymous said...

And the name "Sheridan" was also given to the commander of Babylon 5...